Amid concern about the growing use of the services jacking up student rents in the University District, the Seattle City Council Monday voted unanimously to temporarily ban so-called “rent bidding” in the city.
Monday’s vote will ban the use of services like Rentberry for apartments in the city for one year to give officials time to study the impact the services could have on Seattle affordability. The Office of Housing, Office of Civil Rights, and Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections are now on the hook for a report on the services.
The services work by creating “transparent” rental auctions where potential tenants have “the ability to submit custom offers.”
Last month, CHS reported on the few Capitol Hill properties utilizing the services and the concerns raised about the practice in the Bay Area real estate market. One report on the Rentberry service quoted the company’s founder taking credit for raising rents 5% above listing prices in the already ultra-expensive San Francisco and San Jose markets.
Under the moratorium approved Monday, the Seattle ban can be extended by the City Council if it is determined officials need more time to evaluate the services.